The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, exactly the same size.

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

I'm sure other writers at Engadget have written reviews of the iPhone 12 series. I'm about to talk about it too, but it's not as interesting as the usual cut and dry.

So I'm going to talk about whether to choose the iPhone 12 or the 12 Pro. If you're still wondering about it, please take a look at it.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, which have the same size, the same display, and even the same size of the box

The two that were lent to me this time were the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, which have the same release date. This is quite troubling. To be honest, I wouldn't have to worry about the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max at all. Because the characters are completely different.

But the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro are exactly the same in size, with different finishes and cameras. The size is really exactly the same, so you can use the same case.

From the front. Which one is the iPhone 12? (Answer: left)

Up until the iPhone 11, the display was different from the Pro, but on the 12 series, both were unified with OLED. The brightness is a bit different, but it's not something you can see difference in normal use. In my short time with them, they looked the same. The fact that both models have an OLED display is very important, which I will discuss later, and I think it is desirable to have an OLED display in both cases.

So, I wonder which one I should choose.

The finishes, however, are contrasting. The iPhone 12, which has a glossy back and matte sides, and the 12 Pro, which has a matte back and glossy sides. If it were either blue or silver, which I borrowed this time, my preference would be blue. But the very "sterling silver" look of the side finish is desirable. I think silver is actually a good color for people who want a "white iPhone". The new Pacific Blue is a good color too, but to be honest, my favorite color is the blue of the iPhone 12.

Silver (left) and Pacific Blue (right) of the iPhone 12 Pro. Not blue of the sky but of the sea.

Incidentally, the 12 comes in a white box and the 12 Pro comes in black. Both boxes are the same size, and to the extent that the AC adapter and earphones are no longer included, they are about half as thick as the previous box.

The color of the box is different in white (12) and black (12 Pro), but the size is exactly the same.

No big difference if you're shooting in daylight, LiDAR is worthy of nighttime shooting and "future".

Then the point is the "camera". Since the 12 is a standard model, it has two types of cameras: wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle. The 12 Pro has a telephoto lens in addition to the two. This is the same as the iPhone 11 Pro.

Although there are more scenes where the digital zoom doesn't matter, the presence or absence of a 2x telephoto is still a big deal. This is an important point, as it was last year.

The other point is "LiDAR on board" - if you're interested in anything AR-related, you don't have to say another word - not buying the 12 Pro would be a loss. There aren't many AR apps for the iPhone 12 yet, but speaking from my experience with the iPad Pro, the presence or absence of LiDAR changes the experience significantly. So don't bother if you're in that cluster.

This LiDAR also affects photography. But as a matter of fact, on a daily basis, I'm not sure if it makes that big of a difference. Apparently, LiDAR in iPhone's camera is limited to "dark places". I couldn't find any difference in daylight photography. If you're focused on daytime photography, the difference between the 12 and the 12 Pro is small.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Max: I took these photos of the statue surrounded by trees during the day. The color balance may have changed a bit, but the greens are a bit brighter on the iPhone 12 series, making it easier to see the overall image.

However, when you take portraits at night, the accuracy of so-called "silhouette cropping" changes considerably. The focus is also crisper and the blur/blur effect is reduced. If you're unhappy with photos taken in slightly dark places, the 12 Pro is a good choice.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Max

These photos were taken in portrait mode at night. As you can see, they don't all look very different, but when it's zoomed in, they are quite different. The 12 Pro feels crisp and clear.

Enlarge the head of the above photos. The iPhone 11 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 are much different in terms of cropping accuracy. Furthermore, the 12 Pro is more accurate with no visible misjudgments.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Also, there is a high possibility that camera and video apps that make further use of LiDAR will appear in the future. Considering this, I think it would be a good idea to choose the Pro in anticipation of the future, just as we did with the AR.

As for the video performance, the entire iPhone 12 series now supports HDR recording using the Dolby Vision format. This is quite impressive. The display is now OLED, which has dramatically increased contrast, and HDR videos now playback with a boost in brightness. In short, it's now treated the same as an HDR-capable movie. So it looks great.

The functionality itself is the same for both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, but the 12 can shoot up to 4K and 30 frames per second, whereas the 12 Pro can shoot up to 4K and 60 frames per second, and this is another factor that makes the 12 Pro a good choice for a camera.

The 12 Pro has 6GB of main memory! It's a surprisingly good deal on the 128GB storage base

Is it really the same on the inside?

When we checked with the familiar Geekbench 5, we found that the memory loadings differed. The 12 Pro has 6 GB of memory and the 12 has 4 GB. To our surprise, the iPhone 12 Pro has more memory and CPU cores than the iPad Pro. CPU benchmark scores also differed in terms of the number of cores, with the iPad Pro outperforming in terms of multi-core values, but the iPhone 12 Pro was nearly 30% faster in terms of single-core performance.

iPhone 12 on the left and 12 Pro on the right, CPU and other specs. The clock is the same, but the iPhone 12 Pro has 2GB more memory capacity, 6GB.
The values of the 12 and 12 Pro are almost identical. These values exceed those of the iPhone 11 as well as the iPad Pro in terms of single-core.

The iPhone 12 Pro is affordable when you consider that it has the power of an iPad Pro in the size of the palm of your hand. What's more, when comparing the lowest-priced models, the 12 has 64GB of storage, while the 12 Pro has 128GB, and when comparing the two 128GB models, the price difference narrows to 16,000 yen.

When you consider the Telephoto and LiDAR and 2GB of main memory, the 16,000 yen price difference is not so bad. See, the 12 Pro, which previously seemed expensive for a device of the same size and similar performance, suddenly started to look like a bargain.

Actually, we'd like to choose from four models...

Of course, this is a technicality. Money is still important.

Then it is better to choose the iPhone 12 mini than the 12. The only differences in specs between the iPhone 12 mini and the 12 are screen size, resolution, and battery life, although it is necessary to check the specs on the actual device. If that's the case, you can choose to endure for two weeks and then buy the more compact iPhone 12 mini for 9,000 yen less. But honestly, I feel that buying the 12 is better for your mental health if you're going to spend two weeks worrying about it for 9,000 yen.

And if you're looking at camera performance, you're better off choosing the 12 Pro Max, which has a larger sensor, image stabilization, and a telephoto optical zoom of 2.5 times the wide-angle ratio. The price, however, is a further 11,000 yen higher than the 12 Pro.

Needless to say, it's best to choose from four models rather than two. But the problem is "if you can wait," and I can understand why you're looking forward to two weeks and can't wait any longer.

In that case, it is ultimately a choice between taking the "price" or the "potential". Personally, I also think the 128GB 12 Pro is a good choice for this price difference. If you aren't still attached to the 12 Pro Max's camera.

Related Articles:

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Trying 5G on a SIM-free iPhone 12: What about Rakuten without handling?

The first thing you should try when you get your iPhone 12 or 12 Pro

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This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.